Vic West resident and Merchant Navy veteran Bill Emberly is askiing Esquimalt council for permission to install a monument in Memorial Park in the township

On a quest to remember

Merchant navy veteran seeking installation of Battle of Atlantic marker in Esquimalt park

At night, the lights on Bill Emberly’s merchant navy cargo ship were blacked out, to ward off attack from German u-boats skulking in the ocean.

It took three harrowing weeks for convoys of ships to transport goods and personnel from Canada to Britain during the Second World War.

The sun is now setting on the aging veterans of Canada’s merchant navy fleet, as well as those military personnel who played a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic during the war.

For that reason, Emberly, who joined the merchant navy as a teen, is on a quest to create a Battle of the Atlantic monument that would be unique to the Island.

It would pay homage to Canada’s civilian merchant navy, the Royal Canadian Navy vessels that escorted the merchant ships and Royal Canadian Air Force bomber planes that patrolled the skies above.

“It was a six-year campaign, night and day, chased by submarines and everything else,” Emberly recently told Esquimalt council, when he requested to place the monument in the township’s Memorial Park.

“Britain was starving to death. The war could not have been won without that convoy fleet.”

The black marble memorial, valued at $7,000, would not cost Esquimalt taxpayers anything, Emberly said. He said he has people lined up to pay for the cairn and the installation of the monument’s base.

“It’s almost too late for even thinking about this,” said Emberly, 84. “The average age of the merchant seaman is 87 years.”

Between 50 and 60 merchant seamen, on average, pass away every year, he said.

“This is a thing that we should never forget; there was 60,000 to 70,000 men who died (in the battle).”

The monument would feature engraved images of a Canadian merchant navy cargo tanker, a navy corvette ship and an air force bomber.

“I think that we should be honouring all those who have helped make our life what it is today,” said Coun. Tim Morrison.

Esquimalt municipal staff have been asked to bring back a report to council, as well as seek input from the township’s parks and recreation and heritage advisory committees.

“I think it’s a worthy thing for us to consider, and we need to figure out how we might be able to do that,” Coun. Lynda Hundleby said.

 

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich walks the walk on crosswalk after student lobbied for improvements

Elanor Teel approached first Saanich about the intersection in March 2017

Firefighters across the region swing into the giving season

Local firefighter says it’s about whole community

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2016

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

WATCH: Cyclist doored by pickup truck near Goldstream Avenue traffic circle

The incident was captured by a reader’s dashcam on Friday evening

Victoria axe thrower targets world championships

Former pitcher to compete at World Axe Throwing League Championships in Chicago

POLL: Are you giving to charities over the holiday season?

In the holiday rush, amidst the hustle and bustle to find that… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 4, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Battle over Saanich’s Haro Woods not yet over, says report

Draft management plan calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 to improve area

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

Most Read